Careers: Interviews
Jeff Kempiners: Chief Technology Officer, Avanade Canada Inc.

This week, Stephen Ibaraki, FCIPS, I.S.P., DF/NPA, MVP, CNP has an exclusive interview with Jeff Kempiners.

Jeff KempinersMr. Jeff Kempiners, as Chief Technology Officer, leads the strategic direction and growth of Avanade Canada solutions. Avanade has more than 7,200 professionals in 22 countries, including more than 230 in its Canadian business, which has offices in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa and Montreal. In fiscal year 2006, the company grew its business by 25%.

A seasoned leader, Mr. Kempiners has more than 12 years of experience in IT management and consulting. Mr. Kempiners joined Avanade in August, 2000 as a Solution Architect in the US-Central region. Most recently, he served as Avanade Canada Capability Director for Infrastructure and Application Solutions, overseeing the deployment of Avanade's infrastructure and application development solutions and working closely with Avanade customers. Prior to joining Avanade, Mr. Kempiners was employed with Accenture in a variety of roles, including System Analyst, Project Manager, and Engagement Manager for large customer accounts in all industries.

Over the past five years, Avanade Canada has worked with several enterprises to help them meet their business objectives, including First Canadian Title, PCL Construction, and Future Electronics.

To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link

The latest blog on the interview can be found in the IT Managers Connection (IMC) forum where you can provide your comments in an interactive dialogue.


Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic

00:038; How would you define digital collaboration?
"....any communication, interaction which takes place between two human beings facilitated by technology..."

01:22: What is the status of digital collaboration in Canada? What are the differences with the US?
"...I define our current status in Canada as keeping a watchful eye on the industry...(...better able to collaborate in any of the traditional means....human-centric work flow....mobility based productivity...)..."

02:51: In terms of maturity, where would you contrast Canada versus the US in this whole area?
"...we are more the cautious follower in the technology adoption curve...The leading edge and bleeding edge adoption companies tend to be US-based or in some cases, European-based for certain technologies and ...collaboration is one of them...."

04:47: How do you see digital collaboration impacting/improving business?
"...collaboration across company boundaries, this is where we are going to see the impact to the top line of business, (ie. generating more sales, channel harmonization approach, synergies developing themselves), as companies find more interesting ways to collaborate outside their four walls..."

09:19 Where do you see social networking positioned and services like FaceBook?
"Social networking is not digital collaboration - it leads to digital collaboration...Digital collaboration as a whole will benefit from social networking sites in its ability to plug those like-minded people into one another, however I think you have to go to a different place before the collaboration actually begins....."

10:56: Within and outside of enterprises (and with people embedded within those organizations), how mature is this whole concept of social networking (like a Facebook or LinkedIn)? Do you see this at full maturity or continuing to grow or do you see it as more consumer focus and not so valuable to enterprises?
"...It is still at a very immature phase, there are still a lot of roadblocks that need to be cleared (eg. privacy related issues)......But there is whole generation (gen y and later) who have much more comfort with technology, who have had concepts such as Facebook and My Space literally as long as they can remember and they are going to be entering the workforce en masse in the course of the next ten years......Is it interesting to enterprises? Yes it is and it goes to those crowd-sourcing concepts....It is the Wikipedia concept...."

15:01: Trends are mission critical to all sectors. What do you see as the most important trends that you want to highlight and why are they important to business and IT managers?
"The trends are, first and foremost... presence-based communications (or unified communication.... Another one is the hardware commoditization......And finally....the generation of tech-savvy generation that is up and coming and their expectations will drive businesses to satisfy their need for deeper collaboration tools and deeper techniques to go into the digital space (a lot of this over the course of the next few years)...."

19:53: Do you have any additional opportunities and innovations in IT that you can bring to a fore here and how they be exploited for competitive advantage?
"....principally I would say portal....And another concept also enabled through the portal... enterprise search...."

23:00: Based on your experience, can you delve into the top risks for businesses and how they can be resolved?
"...too slow to react or not going all the way with a full implementation.....poor choices in technology.....a limited attention span inside your IT organization....."

26:16: What are the key lessons that you can provide taken from your global leadership experiences?
"....decision framework...(basic concepts around decision making criteria).....once the decision has been made take it all the way to the finish line.....don't fear change.....embrace crowd sourcing of information...."

29:09: Because you are a major global employer, you have a good perspective of what is required and what skills should be foremost, etc. What is your sense of required skill sets, and job opportunities, currently and into the future?
"....I would say the ability to speak two languages at the same time and the two languages in this context are the language of information technology and the language of the business (specific to whatever market segment you may be part of)......Your best onsite developers are the developers who can attend the design session, the architecture session and then can turn around and go into the performance gathering and business justification session around the same project...."

34:10: Can you tell us more about the current vision, mission, and objectives for Avanade. What do you hope to achieve in three years?
" ...To be the premiere global technology integrator for Microsoft solutions in the enterprise.......To create value for our customers by rapidly delivering mission critical solutions that use Microsoft technology.......At the core of that is a very high level of customer satisfaction which is basically our day to day job at the end of the day...."

37:37: Are there any other topic areas that you would like to comment on?
"Bear in mind that unified communication and digital collaboration very much go hand in hand..."


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